(WXYZ) — A Macomb Township mother is speaking out about her journey with a rare cancer. She decided she wants to use her story to help support others.
Shelly Smith remembers being scared and nervous when she found out she had stage 4 appendix cancer.
The wife and mother of three was diagnosed in 2016 and is now in remission.
Both of her parents passed away from abdominal cancers. She worried about the same thing happening to her.
"My son was 16, my daughter was 18 and my other daughter was 8," Smith said. "I was not gonna leave them because I knew what that was like growing up. I was like I won't do that."
Smith says appendix cancer is rare, affecting 1 in every 1500 people in the world every year. She had been diagnosed with a tumor in her appendix and then learned there were tumors in her abdominal cavity.
"They had to remove some of my organs with tumors... and then they did a heated chemotherapy called HIPEC," Smith said.
She adds that the intense procedure saved her life. Smith says she knew she wanted to help others and started the nonprofit CACC, which stands for Curing Appendix Cancer Connection.
The goal is to raise awareness and provide emotional and financial support for those who need it.
The 3rd annual run/walk fundraiser for Smith's nonprofit is on Saturday, May 11at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township. Smith says all the proceeds go to patient support.
She says the treatment that worked for her isn't for everyone and there's no guarantee, but there's always hope.
"I would say keep going until you find the right answers," Smith said. "Life is wonderful... we got to make the most of it. I was very blessed and it's time to give back."
If you'd like to learn more about Smith's non-profit go to: https://www.shellysfoundation.org/shellysstory